A Sonic Frontiers dataminer has found several pieces of unused dialogue in the game's files that seem to indicate that Sonic was going to lose his memory at some point in the game, possibly even causing him to forget his friends.
Ever since the release date reveal trailer for Sonic Frontiers showed him hunched over in pain with his arm glowing red, fans have been speculating that Sonic was being hurt after absorbing energy from the Starfall Islands. Although that was unconfirmed at the time, Frontiers is finally out now, letting us see how that theory played out. Minor spoilers for the first few hours of Sonic Frontiers coming up.
As it turns out, the theories were right – every time Sonic rescues one of his friends, he ends up absorbing some of the red energy that was keeping them prisoner, which we see damage him more and more as the game goes on. In the end, it doesn't really have that much of an effect on the plot, save for one scene towards the end, but it seems like it was going to matter more at one point in development, even seemingly causing him memory loss.
YouTuber Faz Faz highlighted this seemingly abandoned storyline in a video that collects some unused voice lines from Sonic. Some of the lines show Sonic to be struggling with the corruption, saying things like, "Hard to focus… gotta keep going", "I know I'm moving… I can't feel it!, and "I'm so cold now… numb".
That clearly shows that Sonic was once meant to react to his corruption a bit more than just the idle animations, but there are some more interesting voice lines with bigger implications included in the video. One has Sonic say, "My friends… this is for my friends, remember!", while another has him say "My name is… my name is?", implying he's forgetting both himself and his friends.
This would also tie into the Cyberspace Levels, which have Sonic running around levels from past games. If the memory loss plotline wasn't scrapped, or at least heavily downplayed, then having Sonic lose his memories the more he runs through them would have made some sense.
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