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* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' has been unfortunate enough to go through '''three''' dork ages. The first one was between 1995 to 1997. The cancellation of ''Sonic X-treme'' meant that there would not be a main series ''Sonic'' on the UsefulNotes/SegaSaturn, which only provided fans with a CompilationRerelease, a port of [[VideoGame/Sonic3DFlickiesIsland a slow isometric game]] and a [[VideoGame/SonicR racing spin-off]]. Other than that, Sonic was relegated mostly to various spin-offs on the UsefulNotes/GameGear. While the early '90s had Sonic more recognizable than WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse, Sonic Team reportedly received letters asking who Sonic was shortly after the release of 1996's ''VideoGame/NIGHTSIntoDreams''. This Dork Age finally ended with the release of ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' in 1998.

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* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' has been unfortunate enough to go through '''three''' dork ages. ages.

*
The first one was between 1995 to 1997. The cancellation of ''Sonic X-treme'' meant that there would not be a main series ''Sonic'' on the UsefulNotes/SegaSaturn, which only provided fans with a CompilationRerelease, a port of [[VideoGame/Sonic3DFlickiesIsland a slow isometric game]] and a [[VideoGame/SonicR racing spin-off]]. Other than that, Sonic was relegated mostly to various spin-offs on the UsefulNotes/GameGear. While the early '90s had Sonic more recognizable than WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse, Sonic Team reportedly received letters asking who Sonic was shortly after the release of 1996's ''VideoGame/NIGHTSIntoDreams''. This Dork Age finally ended with the release of ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' in 1998.


* The third Dork Age began some time after the release of ''Sonic Generations'' and may or may not have ended by now. ''Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II'' became a [[ContestedSequel contested followup]] within a sequel series that was controversial to begin with, and its sales and reviews were so middling that it caused [[CutShort plans for future episodes to the saga to be quietly dismissed]]. Following that was ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'', which brought upon [[AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent a myriad of changes from the past titles]] that [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks weren't accepted by several]] and were considered heavily flawed by those who did give it a chance. ''Then'' came the infamous ''VideoGame/SonicBoom'' spinoff games (''Rise of Lyric'' and ''Shattered Crystal''), which, already riding off the controversy of being [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames licensed games to]] a ''new'' brand of Sonic, fans criticized as unnecessary and at risk of further fracturing the fanbase. Sonic Team's attempt at getting into the mobile gaming space with ''VideoGame/SonicRunners'' started out promising with its soft launch... only for the game to go offline [[ShortRunners barely a year later]] thanks to the [[SarcasmMode well-received]] [[BadExportForYou "official" worldwide launch of the game]], which took the game's existing issues and turned them UpToEleven while adding more issues onto the pile. Sonic Team's long-awaited followup to ''Lost World'', ''VideoGame/SonicForces'', only continued the streak of lukewarm reception. The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years.

to:

* The third Dork Age began some time circa 2012, after the release of ''Sonic Generations'' and may or may not have ended by now. Generations'':
** In terms of mainline Sonic games,
''Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II'' became a [[ContestedSequel contested followup]] within a sequel sold so poorly that any continuation of the series that was quietly cancelled, ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'' divided audiences with attempts to change up the ''Sonic'' formula, and ''VideoGame/SonicForces'' only continued the streak of lukewarm reception.
** Likewise, the
controversial to begin with, and its sales and reviews were so middling that it caused [[CutShort plans for future episodes to the saga to be quietly dismissed]]. Following that was ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'', which brought upon [[AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent a myriad of changes from the past titles]] that [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks weren't accepted by several]] and were considered heavily flawed by those who did give it a chance. ''Then'' came the infamous ''VideoGame/SonicBoom'' spinoff games (''Rise were by no means well-received, with ''Rise of Lyric'' and ''Shattered Crystal''), which, already riding off the controversy of frequently being [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames licensed named one of the worst ''Sonic'' games to]] a ''new'' brand of Sonic, all time. Incidentally, fans criticized as unnecessary and at risk of further fracturing have received the fanbase. accompanying animated series a bit more warmly due to its sense of humor.
**
Sonic Team's attempt at getting into the mobile gaming space with ''VideoGame/SonicRunners'' started out promising with its soft launch... only for the game to go offline [[ShortRunners barely a year later]] thanks to the [[SarcasmMode well-received]] [[BadExportForYou "official" worldwide launch of the game]], which took the game's existing issues and turned them UpToEleven while adding more issues onto the pile. Sonic Team's long-awaited followup to ''Lost World'', ''VideoGame/SonicForces'', only continued the streak of lukewarm reception.
**
The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in bright spots. ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' by [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from of the fan community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up follow-up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years.


* The second (and perhaps the most well-known) is the one from 2005 to 2007 with the releases of ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'', ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'', and ''VideoGame/{{Sonic the Hedgehog|1}} Genesis''. Shadow's game was a spin-off meant to please Shadow's fans and conclude his amnesia arc, but Sega didn't stop there; they also tried to aim for the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' crowd using Shadow's ByronicHero characterization to justify some pretty bizarre choices (namely, lots of guns and some mild swearing) with SoBadItsGood results, plus the game's slippery controls and repetitive mission-based gameplay. ''Sonic '06'' was hyped to be the Blue Blur's big comeback and a "re-imagining" of the series for the seventh-generation consoles; instead it turned out to be a [[ChristmasRushed rushed]] [[ObviousBeta mess]] with Sonic receiving a much-maligned romance subplot involving a human princess, which [[OutOfFocus had less overall importance]] compared to the plots given to [[SpotlightStealingSquad his co-stars]]. ''Sonic Genesis'' was a Game Boy Advance port of the original game, and ended up as ''[[PortingDisaster another]]'' rushed mess that was just salt in the wound after ''[='06=]''. Lastly, ''VideoGame/SonicRiders'', ''VideoGame/SonicRivals'', and ''[[VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries Sonic and the Secret Rings]]'' were released around this time, and though not as reviled as ''[='06=]'', they were either seen as SoOkayItsAverage at best and/or panned for their controls, with the rest of the era being filled by [[CompilationRerelease Compilation Rereleases]] such as ''Sonic Gems Collection'' and ''Sonic Mega Collection''.

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* The second (and perhaps the most well-known) is the one from 2005 to 2007 with the releases of ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'', ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'', and ''VideoGame/{{Sonic the Hedgehog|1}} Genesis''. Shadow's game was a spin-off meant to please Shadow's fans and conclude his amnesia arc, but Sega didn't stop there; they also tried to aim for the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' crowd using Shadow's ByronicHero characterization to justify some pretty bizarre choices (namely, lots of guns and some mild swearing) with SoBadItsGood results, plus the game's slippery controls and repetitive mission-based gameplay. ''Sonic '06'' was hyped to be the Blue Blur's big comeback and a "re-imagining" of the series for the seventh-generation consoles; instead it turned out to be a [[ChristmasRushed rushed]] [[ObviousBeta mess]] with Sonic receiving a much-maligned romance subplot involving a human princess, which [[OutOfFocus had less overall importance]] compared to the plots given to [[SpotlightStealingSquad his co-stars]]. ''Sonic Genesis'' was a Game Boy Advance port of the original game, and ended up as ''[[PortingDisaster another]]'' rushed mess that was just salt in the wound after ''[='06=]''. Lastly, ''VideoGame/SonicRiders'', ''VideoGame/SonicRivals'', and ''[[VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries Sonic and the Secret Rings]]'' were released around this time, and though not as reviled as ''[='06=]'', they were either seen as SoOkayItsAverage at best and/or panned for their controls, with the rest of the era being filled by [[CompilationRerelease Compilation Rereleases]] such as ''Sonic Gems Collection'' and ''Sonic Mega Collection''.Collection/Plus''.


* The second (and perhaps [[NeverLiveItDown the most well-known]]) is the one from 2005 to 2007 with the releases of ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'', ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'', and ''VideoGame/{{Sonic the Hedgehog|1}} Genesis''. Shadow's game was a spin-off meant to please Shadow's fans and conclude his amnesia arc, but Sega didn't stop there; they also tried to aim for the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' crowd using Shadow's ByronicHero characterization to justify some pretty bizarre choices (namely, lots of guns and some mild swearing) with SoBadItsGood results, plus the game's slippery controls and repetitive mission-based gameplay. ''Sonic '06'' was hyped to be the Blue Blur's big comeback and a "re-imagining" of the series for the seventh-generation consoles; instead it turned out to be a [[ChristmasRushed rushed]] [[ObviousBeta mess]] with Sonic receiving a much-maligned romance subplot involving a human princess, which [[OutOfFocus had less overall importance]] compared to the plots given to [[SpotlightStealingSquad his co-stars]]. ''Sonic Genesis'' was a Game Boy Advance port of the original game, and ended up as ''[[PortingDisaster another]]'' rushed mess that was just salt in the wound after ''[='06=]''. Lastly, ''VideoGame/SonicRiders'', ''VideoGame/SonicRivals'', and ''[[VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries Sonic and the Secret Rings]]'' were released around this time, and though not as reviled as ''[='06=]'', they were either seen as SoOkayItsAverage at best and/or panned for their controls, with the rest of the era being filled by [[CompilationRerelease Compilation Rereleases]] such as ''Sonic Gems Collection'' and ''Sonic Mega Collection''.

to:

* The second (and perhaps [[NeverLiveItDown the most well-known]]) well-known) is the one from 2005 to 2007 with the releases of ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'', ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'', and ''VideoGame/{{Sonic the Hedgehog|1}} Genesis''. Shadow's game was a spin-off meant to please Shadow's fans and conclude his amnesia arc, but Sega didn't stop there; they also tried to aim for the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' crowd using Shadow's ByronicHero characterization to justify some pretty bizarre choices (namely, lots of guns and some mild swearing) with SoBadItsGood results, plus the game's slippery controls and repetitive mission-based gameplay. ''Sonic '06'' was hyped to be the Blue Blur's big comeback and a "re-imagining" of the series for the seventh-generation consoles; instead it turned out to be a [[ChristmasRushed rushed]] [[ObviousBeta mess]] with Sonic receiving a much-maligned romance subplot involving a human princess, which [[OutOfFocus had less overall importance]] compared to the plots given to [[SpotlightStealingSquad his co-stars]]. ''Sonic Genesis'' was a Game Boy Advance port of the original game, and ended up as ''[[PortingDisaster another]]'' rushed mess that was just salt in the wound after ''[='06=]''. Lastly, ''VideoGame/SonicRiders'', ''VideoGame/SonicRivals'', and ''[[VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries Sonic and the Secret Rings]]'' were released around this time, and though not as reviled as ''[='06=]'', they were either seen as SoOkayItsAverage at best and/or panned for their controls, with the rest of the era being filled by [[CompilationRerelease Compilation Rereleases]] such as ''Sonic Gems Collection'' and ''Sonic Mega Collection''.


* The third Dork Age began some time after the release of ''Sonic Generations'' and may or may not have ended by now. ''Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II'' became a [[ContestedSequel contested followup]] within a sequel series that was controversial to begin with, and its sales and reviews were so middling that it caused [[CutShort plans for future episodes to the saga to be quietly dismissed]]. Following that was ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'', which brought upon [[AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent a myriad of changes from the past titles]] that [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks weren't accepted by several]] and were considered heavily flawed by those who did give it a chance.''Then'' came the infamous ''VideoGame/SonicBoom'' spinoff games (''Rise of Lyric'' and ''Shattered Crystal''), which, already riding off the controversy of being [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames licensed games to]] a ''new'' brand of Sonic, fans criticized as unnecessary and at risk of further fracturing the fanbase. Sonic Team's attempt at getting into the mobile gaming space with ''VideoGame/SonicRunners'' started out promising with its soft launch... only for the game to go offline [[ShortRunners barely a year later]] thanks to the [[SarcasmMode well-received]] [[BadExportForYou "official" worldwide launch of the game]], which took the game's existing issues and turned them UpToEleven while adding more issues onto the pile. Sonic Team's long-awaited followup to ''Lost World'', ''VideoGame/SonicForces'', only continued the streak of lukewarm reception. The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years.

to:

* The third Dork Age began some time after the release of ''Sonic Generations'' and may or may not have ended by now. ''Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II'' became a [[ContestedSequel contested followup]] within a sequel series that was controversial to begin with, and its sales and reviews were so middling that it caused [[CutShort plans for future episodes to the saga to be quietly dismissed]]. Following that was ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'', which brought upon [[AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent a myriad of changes from the past titles]] that [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks weren't accepted by several]] and were considered heavily flawed by those who did give it a chance. ''Then'' came the infamous ''VideoGame/SonicBoom'' spinoff games (''Rise of Lyric'' and ''Shattered Crystal''), which, already riding off the controversy of being [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames licensed games to]] a ''new'' brand of Sonic, fans criticized as unnecessary and at risk of further fracturing the fanbase. Sonic Team's attempt at getting into the mobile gaming space with ''VideoGame/SonicRunners'' started out promising with its soft launch... only for the game to go offline [[ShortRunners barely a year later]] thanks to the [[SarcasmMode well-received]] [[BadExportForYou "official" worldwide launch of the game]], which took the game's existing issues and turned them UpToEleven while adding more issues onto the pile. Sonic Team's long-awaited followup to ''Lost World'', ''VideoGame/SonicForces'', only continued the streak of lukewarm reception. The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years.


* The third Dork Age began some time after the release of ''Sonic Generations'' and may or may not have ended by now; marked by a slew of releases of surprisingly middling quality after it was believed Sonic Team had finally gotten back on track. ''Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II'' became a [[ContestedSequel contested followup]] within a sequel series that was controversial to begin with, and its sales and reviews were so middling that it caused [[CutShort plans for future episodes to the saga to be quietly dismissed]]. Following that was ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'', which brought upon [[AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent a myriad of changes from the past titles]] -- most notoriously the gameplay and level design, the artstyle, and the narrative/characterization in the story -- that [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks weren't accepted by several]] and were considered heavily flawed by those who did give it a chance; and was widely perceived as the first real stumble. ''Lost World'' also established the beginning of an unpopular and unsuccessful partnership forged between Sega and Nintendo, which restricted a trilogy of ''Sonic'' games as exclusive to the UsefulNotes/WiiU console, which turned out to be a commercial disappointment. ''Then'' came the infamous ''VideoGame/SonicBoom'' spinoff games (''Rise of Lyric'' and ''Shattered Crystal''), which, already riding off the controversy of being [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames licensed games to]] a ''new'' brand of Sonic, fans criticized as unnecessary and at risk of further fracturing the fanbase. With both games criticized as repetitive and dull in their design, and ''Rise of Lyric'' in particular turning out to be '''''[[HereWeGoAgain yet another]]''''' ''[[ObviousBeta rushed mess]]'' of a game (with many likening ''Rise of Lyric'' to the aforementioned ''Sonic '06''); the Boom games proved themselves as a new low point for the series as both critical and commercial failures. Unsurprisingly, they were credited to Sega undergoing restructuring and dozens of employee layoffs shortly after their release, and Sega later apologizing for betraying the trust of their consumers.\\
\\
While the Boom games would mark the absolute nadir of the third Dork Age, attempts to move on from it haven't been smooth sailing. Sonic Team's attempt at getting into the mobile gaming space with ''VideoGame/SonicRunners'' started out promising (if still not without problems) with its soft launch... only for the game to go offline [[ShortRunners barely a year later]] thanks to the [[SarcasmMode well-received]] [[BadExportForYou "official" worldwide launch of the game]], which took the game's existing issues and turned them UpToEleven while adding more issues onto the pile. A third ''Sonic Boom'' game, ''Fire and Ice'', sank without a trace; despite [[AuthorsSavingThrow being delayed by Sega for over a year for quality control reasons]] and commended as [[SurprisinglyImprovedSequel a superior effort]] over the past ''Boom'' games by the few who decided to pick it up. The [[ScrewedByTheLawyers legal pileup]] caused by Creator/KenPenders[='=]s lawsuits and [[Creator/ArchieComics Archie's]] shifted focus to other properties resulted in Sega and Archie abruptly cancelling the [[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog latter's famed comic series about the mascot]]. Despite the comic [[LongRunners having run for 24 years up to that point]], the cancellation was announced with minimal fanfare and after a startlingly long period of radio silence from both parties after release of issues came to an unannounced (and permanent) hiatus. Sonic Team's long-awaited followup to ''Lost World'', multiplatform debut for the generation, ''and'' [[MilestoneCelebration tie-in game for the series' 25th anniversary]], ''VideoGame/SonicForces'', only continued the streak of lukewarm reception. Despite garnering interest for returning to the Boost gameplay, gunning for a more serious story and tone (in contrast to past titles), and premise (Dr. Eggman [[TheBadGuyWins having succeeded in taking over the world]]); the gameplay and level design was panned as a lackluster step back from previous ''Boost'' titles and its story was considered [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot a disappointment]], with the game largely considered unambitious outside of its "[[CharacterCustomization Custom Hero]]" playstyle (which ever since its reveal has remained a ''major'' [[BrokenBase topic of great debate]] between fans).\\
\\
The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Despite the poor reception of the tie-in games, the ''Sonic Boom'' [[WesternAnimation/SonicBoom animated series]] has generally been considered a genuinely enjoyable show, and has largely shaken off the stigma caused by the tie-in games. The end of the ''Archie Sonic'' comic was shortly followed by Sega announcing they had given Creator/IDWPublishing the rights to make [[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogIDW a new comic about the series]] set for 2018, emphasizing the series as a fresh start from the ''Archie'' continuity. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years. The brightest spot from this Dork Age, though, was a [[Film/SonicTheHedgehog2020 proper feature-length film adaptation]] that, despite initial indifference and lack of confidence from fans, turned out to be [[SleeperHit surprisingly well-received]] and overtook ''Film/PokemonDetectivePikachu'' as the highest-grossing video game-based movie in the United States, introducing Sonic to generations of new fans ''and'' potentially reinventing the franchise going forward.

to:

* The third Dork Age began some time after the release of ''Sonic Generations'' and may or may not have ended by now; marked by a slew of releases of surprisingly middling quality after it was believed Sonic Team had finally gotten back on track.now. ''Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II'' became a [[ContestedSequel contested followup]] within a sequel series that was controversial to begin with, and its sales and reviews were so middling that it caused [[CutShort plans for future episodes to the saga to be quietly dismissed]]. Following that was ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'', which brought upon [[AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent a myriad of changes from the past titles]] -- most notoriously the gameplay and level design, the artstyle, and the narrative/characterization in the story -- that [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks weren't accepted by several]] and were considered heavily flawed by those who did give it a chance; and was widely perceived as the first real stumble. ''Lost World'' also established the beginning of an unpopular and unsuccessful partnership forged between Sega and Nintendo, which restricted a trilogy of ''Sonic'' games as exclusive to the UsefulNotes/WiiU console, which turned out to be a commercial disappointment. chance.''Then'' came the infamous ''VideoGame/SonicBoom'' spinoff games (''Rise of Lyric'' and ''Shattered Crystal''), which, already riding off the controversy of being [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames licensed games to]] a ''new'' brand of Sonic, fans criticized as unnecessary and at risk of further fracturing the fanbase. With both games criticized as repetitive and dull in their design, and ''Rise of Lyric'' in particular turning out to be '''''[[HereWeGoAgain yet another]]''''' ''[[ObviousBeta rushed mess]]'' of a game (with many likening ''Rise of Lyric'' to the aforementioned ''Sonic '06''); the Boom games proved themselves as a new low point for the series as both critical and commercial failures. Unsurprisingly, they were credited to Sega undergoing restructuring and dozens of employee layoffs shortly after their release, and Sega later apologizing for betraying the trust of their consumers.\\
\\
While the Boom games would mark the absolute nadir of the third Dork Age, attempts to move on from it haven't been smooth sailing.
Sonic Team's attempt at getting into the mobile gaming space with ''VideoGame/SonicRunners'' started out promising (if still not without problems) with its soft launch... only for the game to go offline [[ShortRunners barely a year later]] thanks to the [[SarcasmMode well-received]] [[BadExportForYou "official" worldwide launch of the game]], which took the game's existing issues and turned them UpToEleven while adding more issues onto the pile. A third ''Sonic Boom'' game, ''Fire and Ice'', sank without a trace; despite [[AuthorsSavingThrow being delayed by Sega for over a year for quality control reasons]] and commended as [[SurprisinglyImprovedSequel a superior effort]] over the past ''Boom'' games by the few who decided to pick it up. The [[ScrewedByTheLawyers legal pileup]] caused by Creator/KenPenders[='=]s lawsuits and [[Creator/ArchieComics Archie's]] shifted focus to other properties resulted in Sega and Archie abruptly cancelling the [[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog latter's famed comic series about the mascot]]. Despite the comic [[LongRunners having run for 24 years up to that point]], the cancellation was announced with minimal fanfare and after a startlingly long period of radio silence from both parties after release of issues came to an unannounced (and permanent) hiatus. Sonic Team's long-awaited followup to ''Lost World'', multiplatform debut for the generation, ''and'' [[MilestoneCelebration tie-in game for the series' 25th anniversary]], ''VideoGame/SonicForces'', only continued the streak of lukewarm reception. Despite garnering interest for returning to the Boost gameplay, gunning for a more serious story and tone (in contrast to past titles), and premise (Dr. Eggman [[TheBadGuyWins having succeeded in taking over the world]]); the gameplay and level design was panned as a lackluster step back from previous ''Boost'' titles and its story was considered [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot a disappointment]], with the game largely considered unambitious outside of its "[[CharacterCustomization Custom Hero]]" playstyle (which ever since its reveal has remained a ''major'' [[BrokenBase topic of great debate]] between fans).\\
\\
The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Despite the poor reception of the tie-in games, the ''Sonic Boom'' [[WesternAnimation/SonicBoom animated series]] has generally been considered a genuinely enjoyable show, and has largely shaken off the stigma caused by the tie-in games. The end of the ''Archie Sonic'' comic was shortly followed by Sega announcing they had given Creator/IDWPublishing the rights to make [[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogIDW a new comic about the series]] set for 2018, emphasizing the series as a fresh start from the ''Archie'' continuity. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years. The brightest spot from this Dork Age, though, was a [[Film/SonicTheHedgehog2020 proper feature-length film adaptation]] that, despite initial indifference and lack of confidence from fans, turned out to be [[SleeperHit surprisingly well-received]] and overtook ''Film/PokemonDetectivePikachu'' as the highest-grossing video game-based movie in the United States, introducing Sonic to generations of new fans ''and'' potentially reinventing the franchise going forward.years.
----


The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Despite the poor reception of the tie-in games, the ''Sonic Boom'' [[WesternAnimation/SonicBoom animated series]] has generally been considered a genuinely enjoyable show, and has largely shaken off the stigma caused by the tie-in games. The end of the ''Archie Sonic'' comic was shortly followed by Sega announcing they had given Creator/IDWPublishing the rights to make [[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogIDW a new comic about the series]] set for 2018, emphasizing the series as a fresh start from the ''Archie'' continuity. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years. The brightest spot from this Dork Age, though, was a [[Film/SonicTheHedgehog2020 proper feature-length film adaptation]] that, despite initial indifference and lack of confidence from fans, turned out to be [[SleeperHit surprisingly well-received]] and overtook ''Film/PokemonDetectivePikachu'' as the highest-grossing video game-based movie in the United States, introducing Sonic to generations of new fans ''and'' potentially reinventing the franchise going for.

to:

The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Despite the poor reception of the tie-in games, the ''Sonic Boom'' [[WesternAnimation/SonicBoom animated series]] has generally been considered a genuinely enjoyable show, and has largely shaken off the stigma caused by the tie-in games. The end of the ''Archie Sonic'' comic was shortly followed by Sega announcing they had given Creator/IDWPublishing the rights to make [[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogIDW a new comic about the series]] set for 2018, emphasizing the series as a fresh start from the ''Archie'' continuity. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years. The brightest spot from this Dork Age, though, was a [[Film/SonicTheHedgehog2020 proper feature-length film adaptation]] that, despite initial indifference and lack of confidence from fans, turned out to be [[SleeperHit surprisingly well-received]] and overtook ''Film/PokemonDetectivePikachu'' as the highest-grossing video game-based movie in the United States, introducing Sonic to generations of new fans ''and'' potentially reinventing the franchise going for.forward.


The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Despite the poor reception of the tie-in games, the ''Sonic Boom'' [[WesternAnimation/SonicBoom animated series]] has generally been considered a genuinely enjoyable show, and has largely shaken off the stigma caused by the tie-in games. The end of the ''Archie Sonic'' comic was shortly followed by Sega announcing they had given Creator/IDWPublishing the rights to make [[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogIDW a new comic about the series]] set for 2018, emphasizing the series as a fresh start from the ''Archie'' continuity. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years. The brightest spot, though, was a [[Film/SonicTheHedgehog2020 proper feature-length film adaptation]] that, despite initial indifference and lack of confidence from fans, turned out to be [[SleeperHit surprisingly well-received]] and overtook ''Film/PokemonDetectivePikachu'' as the highest-grossing video game-based movie in the United States, introducing Sonic to generations of new fans ''and'' potentially reinventing the franchise going for.

to:

The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Despite the poor reception of the tie-in games, the ''Sonic Boom'' [[WesternAnimation/SonicBoom animated series]] has generally been considered a genuinely enjoyable show, and has largely shaken off the stigma caused by the tie-in games. The end of the ''Archie Sonic'' comic was shortly followed by Sega announcing they had given Creator/IDWPublishing the rights to make [[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogIDW a new comic about the series]] set for 2018, emphasizing the series as a fresh start from the ''Archie'' continuity. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years. The brightest spot, spot from this Dork Age, though, was a [[Film/SonicTheHedgehog2020 proper feature-length film adaptation]] that, despite initial indifference and lack of confidence from fans, turned out to be [[SleeperHit surprisingly well-received]] and overtook ''Film/PokemonDetectivePikachu'' as the highest-grossing video game-based movie in the United States, introducing Sonic to generations of new fans ''and'' potentially reinventing the franchise going for.


The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Despite the poor reception of the tie-in games, the ''Sonic Boom'' [[WesternAnimation/SonicBoom animated series]] has generally been considered a genuinely enjoyable show, and has largely shaken off the stigma caused by the tie-in games. The end of the ''Archie Sonic'' comic was shortly followed by Sega announcing they had given Creator/IDWPublishing the rights to make [[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogIDW a new comic about the series]] set for 2018, emphasizing the series as a fresh start from the ''Archie'' continuity. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years.

to:

The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Despite the poor reception of the tie-in games, the ''Sonic Boom'' [[WesternAnimation/SonicBoom animated series]] has generally been considered a genuinely enjoyable show, and has largely shaken off the stigma caused by the tie-in games. The end of the ''Archie Sonic'' comic was shortly followed by Sega announcing they had given Creator/IDWPublishing the rights to make [[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogIDW a new comic about the series]] set for 2018, emphasizing the series as a fresh start from the ''Archie'' continuity. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years. The brightest spot, though, was a [[Film/SonicTheHedgehog2020 proper feature-length film adaptation]] that, despite initial indifference and lack of confidence from fans, turned out to be [[SleeperHit surprisingly well-received]] and overtook ''Film/PokemonDetectivePikachu'' as the highest-grossing video game-based movie in the United States, introducing Sonic to generations of new fans ''and'' potentially reinventing the franchise going for.

Added DiffLines:

* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' has been unfortunate enough to go through '''three''' dork ages. The first one was between 1995 to 1997. The cancellation of ''Sonic X-treme'' meant that there would not be a main series ''Sonic'' on the UsefulNotes/SegaSaturn, which only provided fans with a CompilationRerelease, a port of [[VideoGame/Sonic3DFlickiesIsland a slow isometric game]] and a [[VideoGame/SonicR racing spin-off]]. Other than that, Sonic was relegated mostly to various spin-offs on the UsefulNotes/GameGear. While the early '90s had Sonic more recognizable than WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse, Sonic Team reportedly received letters asking who Sonic was shortly after the release of 1996's ''VideoGame/NIGHTSIntoDreams''. This Dork Age finally ended with the release of ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' in 1998.
* The second (and perhaps [[NeverLiveItDown the most well-known]]) is the one from 2005 to 2007 with the releases of ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'', ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'', and ''VideoGame/{{Sonic the Hedgehog|1}} Genesis''. Shadow's game was a spin-off meant to please Shadow's fans and conclude his amnesia arc, but Sega didn't stop there; they also tried to aim for the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' crowd using Shadow's ByronicHero characterization to justify some pretty bizarre choices (namely, lots of guns and some mild swearing) with SoBadItsGood results, plus the game's slippery controls and repetitive mission-based gameplay. ''Sonic '06'' was hyped to be the Blue Blur's big comeback and a "re-imagining" of the series for the seventh-generation consoles; instead it turned out to be a [[ChristmasRushed rushed]] [[ObviousBeta mess]] with Sonic receiving a much-maligned romance subplot involving a human princess, which [[OutOfFocus had less overall importance]] compared to the plots given to [[SpotlightStealingSquad his co-stars]]. ''Sonic Genesis'' was a Game Boy Advance port of the original game, and ended up as ''[[PortingDisaster another]]'' rushed mess that was just salt in the wound after ''[='06=]''. Lastly, ''VideoGame/SonicRiders'', ''VideoGame/SonicRivals'', and ''[[VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries Sonic and the Secret Rings]]'' were released around this time, and though not as reviled as ''[='06=]'', they were either seen as SoOkayItsAverage at best and/or panned for their controls, with the rest of the era being filled by [[CompilationRerelease Compilation Rereleases]] such as ''Sonic Gems Collection'' and ''Sonic Mega Collection''.
* After this, the fanbase became even more fractured than before, with differing opinions on when the DorkAge even started and when (if at all) it ended.
** One possible ending is ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'' which was hyped as "Sonic's big comeback" and praised for the daytime Sonic stages that mixed 3D and 2D segments together, but received mixed reviews regarding [[BeatEmUp the Werehog]] [[ScrappyMechanic stages]].
** ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog4: Episode I'' was hyped as the much-awaited sequel to the acclaimed Genesis games and "Sonic's big comeback", but was largely criticized by fans as [[{{Sequelitis}} a terrible sequel that missed the point]] of the original games ([[CriticalDissonance though the game's sales and critic reviews at the time were actually decent]]).
** Another possible ending to Sonic's second Dork Age is 2010's ''VideoGame/SonicColors'', which improved upon the Daytime stages of ''Sonic Unleashed'' and managed to get good reviews with many praising it as [[RunningGag "Sonic's big comeback"]], and ''VideoGame/SonicGenerations'', which served as a celebration of 20 years of Sonic with [[ContinuityNod/SonicGenerations copious nods to previous games]]. While both of these games were widely praised for their gameplay, they have attracted some bile over the increased [[DenserAndWackier silliness]] of the cutscenes, corny dialogue, and general [[PutOnABus disregard for characters]] outside of the Sonic/Tails/Eggman trio.
* The third Dork Age began some time after the release of ''Sonic Generations'' and may or may not have ended by now; marked by a slew of releases of surprisingly middling quality after it was believed Sonic Team had finally gotten back on track. ''Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II'' became a [[ContestedSequel contested followup]] within a sequel series that was controversial to begin with, and its sales and reviews were so middling that it caused [[CutShort plans for future episodes to the saga to be quietly dismissed]]. Following that was ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'', which brought upon [[AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent a myriad of changes from the past titles]] -- most notoriously the gameplay and level design, the artstyle, and the narrative/characterization in the story -- that [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks weren't accepted by several]] and were considered heavily flawed by those who did give it a chance; and was widely perceived as the first real stumble. ''Lost World'' also established the beginning of an unpopular and unsuccessful partnership forged between Sega and Nintendo, which restricted a trilogy of ''Sonic'' games as exclusive to the UsefulNotes/WiiU console, which turned out to be a commercial disappointment. ''Then'' came the infamous ''VideoGame/SonicBoom'' spinoff games (''Rise of Lyric'' and ''Shattered Crystal''), which, already riding off the controversy of being [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames licensed games to]] a ''new'' brand of Sonic, fans criticized as unnecessary and at risk of further fracturing the fanbase. With both games criticized as repetitive and dull in their design, and ''Rise of Lyric'' in particular turning out to be '''''[[HereWeGoAgain yet another]]''''' ''[[ObviousBeta rushed mess]]'' of a game (with many likening ''Rise of Lyric'' to the aforementioned ''Sonic '06''); the Boom games proved themselves as a new low point for the series as both critical and commercial failures. Unsurprisingly, they were credited to Sega undergoing restructuring and dozens of employee layoffs shortly after their release, and Sega later apologizing for betraying the trust of their consumers.\\
\\
While the Boom games would mark the absolute nadir of the third Dork Age, attempts to move on from it haven't been smooth sailing. Sonic Team's attempt at getting into the mobile gaming space with ''VideoGame/SonicRunners'' started out promising (if still not without problems) with its soft launch... only for the game to go offline [[ShortRunners barely a year later]] thanks to the [[SarcasmMode well-received]] [[BadExportForYou "official" worldwide launch of the game]], which took the game's existing issues and turned them UpToEleven while adding more issues onto the pile. A third ''Sonic Boom'' game, ''Fire and Ice'', sank without a trace; despite [[AuthorsSavingThrow being delayed by Sega for over a year for quality control reasons]] and commended as [[SurprisinglyImprovedSequel a superior effort]] over the past ''Boom'' games by the few who decided to pick it up. The [[ScrewedByTheLawyers legal pileup]] caused by Creator/KenPenders[='=]s lawsuits and [[Creator/ArchieComics Archie's]] shifted focus to other properties resulted in Sega and Archie abruptly cancelling the [[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog latter's famed comic series about the mascot]]. Despite the comic [[LongRunners having run for 24 years up to that point]], the cancellation was announced with minimal fanfare and after a startlingly long period of radio silence from both parties after release of issues came to an unannounced (and permanent) hiatus. Sonic Team's long-awaited followup to ''Lost World'', multiplatform debut for the generation, ''and'' [[MilestoneCelebration tie-in game for the series' 25th anniversary]], ''VideoGame/SonicForces'', only continued the streak of lukewarm reception. Despite garnering interest for returning to the Boost gameplay, gunning for a more serious story and tone (in contrast to past titles), and premise (Dr. Eggman [[TheBadGuyWins having succeeded in taking over the world]]); the gameplay and level design was panned as a lackluster step back from previous ''Boost'' titles and its story was considered [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot a disappointment]], with the game largely considered unambitious outside of its "[[CharacterCustomization Custom Hero]]" playstyle (which ever since its reveal has remained a ''major'' [[BrokenBase topic of great debate]] between fans).\\
\\
The third Dork Age, however, isn't without its few diamonds in the rough. Despite the poor reception of the tie-in games, the ''Sonic Boom'' [[WesternAnimation/SonicBoom animated series]] has generally been considered a genuinely enjoyable show, and has largely shaken off the stigma caused by the tie-in games. The end of the ''Archie Sonic'' comic was shortly followed by Sega announcing they had given Creator/IDWPublishing the rights to make [[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogIDW a new comic about the series]] set for 2018, emphasizing the series as a fresh start from the ''Archie'' continuity. Sega taking a chance on getting the fans to make an official ''Sonic'' game resulted in their other 25th anniversary project in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', a successor to the Genesis Sonic games developed ''by'' [[PromotedFanboy high-profile members from the community]] that was praised by reviewers and fans alike as not only a proper follow up to the Genesis Sonic titles, but as one of the best Sonic games in years.

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