"Oh, bother...'tis indeed a tragedy that this page incomplete. Maybe if thou doth contribute to thy page, thou and I shall both benefit."
Shadow the Hedgehog 2 is a 3D open-world third-person shooter game developed by Rockstar Games, and published by Sega. The original director, Takashi Iizuka, returned to direct and develop the game alongside developers from both Grand Theft Auto V and Persona 5. This marks the third game in the Unreality saga, following Sonic: un/REALITY and Genesis the Hedgehog. The game follows a more matured Shadow, now on the run from the government after he is framed for a devastating terrorist attack. On his journey to prove the city wrong (or right), he meets Rampage the Coyote, an Australian arms dealer who has a personal vendetta against Dr. Robotnik. He then reunites with Rouge the Bat, E-123 Omega, and (optionally) Genesis the Hedgehog to take down Robotnik's empire from the core.
The game, under the code name Project G.U.N., was announced at the SEGA Conference 2021 alongside Genesis the Hedgehog and the Dreamcast Classic. Gaming news sites Kotaku and Polygon reported that the hype surrounding the game was enough to crash Twitch's servers after the announcement. Another teaser trailer, along with the name and Rockstar's involvement, was revealed on Saturday Night Live, obviously because Sonic was virtually hosting that episode. The next day, an IMDb page for the game was leaked, showing Christian Brunn and Tom Holland in undisclosed roles. The game was properly revealed at E3 2022, explaining the gameplay, story, and characters. Brunn and Holland's roles were revealed as Rampage and Genesis respectively, while Sonic the Hedgehog was revealed as a free pre-order bonus, alongside multiple outfits for the avatar.
The game was released on November 18. While it was criticized for its M rating, it received critical acclaim for its smooth gameplay, character development, and enticing story. It is the 9th best-selling SEGA game of all time, behind Sonic Adventure. As a direct result of being the first M-rated game in the series, a PSA released by Sonic Team USA warning fans about the rating was released shortly after on their Twitter page.
5 years after the events of Sonic: un/REALITY, a devastating terrorist attack occurs in Maurice City, when a nuclear-powered railgun destroys the Financial Trade Building, killing thousands of civilians. Shadow the Hedgehog, now a lone vigilante with a drinking problem, is blamed almost immediately for the attack, forcing him to leave the city. Eventually stranded in the ruins of Scorching Dunes, he befriends Rampage the Coyote, who supplies him with everything he needs in exchange for killing Mayor Gerald Robotnik. With some help from Rouge and E-123 Omega (and Genesis, optionally), Shadow begins his quest to return to the city so he can exact his long-overdue revenge.
An Un/REAL Celebration
The game begins with an exact replay of the final cutscene in Sonic: un/REALITY, where Hyper Sonic uses the Chaos Emeralds to create a powerful energy blast, killing Infinite, destroying the Dimension Virus, and shattering the emeralds. With the enemy defeated, Sonic throws a huge party with everyone he's met in the past 3 decades, including the entire roster from SSBU. At the party, Sonic confronts Shadow, and apologizes about the Chaos Emeralds. Shadow then has 4 option responses; Irritated, Forgiving, Friendly, or Silent.
If Shadow's response is Irritated, Sonic will feel a little concerned, but very understanding, slightly decreasing their friendship. If Shadow's response is Forgiving, Sonic will be friendly with him and initiate a handshake, increasing their friendship. If Shadow's response is Friendly, Sonic will agree to buying a drink with Shadow, slightly increasing their friendship. If Shadow's gives no response, Sonic will be a little annoyed, but understands Shadow's feelings and gives him time alone. The last option will not change their friendship.
A Night Out
5 years later, Central City has been renamed Maurice City in honor of Sonic, who now hosts the At the Speed of Sound radio talk show. The Financial Trade Building is the most important building in the city, as it is the tallest, the most crowded, and the highest paying jobs are located there. Shadow can visit the entire building in the first mission, where he meets his new girlfriend, Kenzie the Hedgehog. They take photos and dance around in the empty observatory deck. After their date, Kenzie takes a ride home and thanks Shadow for the night out. Shadow and Kenzie met at a group meeting for those with distaste for Mayor Ivo Robotnik, who Sonic has long since made a truce with. After Kenzie leaves, Shadow heads to the bar on the first floor, where he orders water. He points out that he's never liked the beer at that place.
Meanwhile, at a nuclear weapons base thousands of miles away, Infinite's lifeless corpse is retrieved from the bottom of the ocean by the base's soldiers, who take him to a chamber filled with a mysterious substance. Infinite wakes up, greeted by the head scientist, Melissa the Jackal. She explains to him about the substance, known as STRN-4199, and how it can give life to the dead. She then takes him to her recently finished project; a railgun with weaponized nuclear power. Melissa explains how she wants to test the railgun in a remote desert, but Infinite suddenly has a brief mental breakdown, revealing Shadow's location to him. Infinite then decides to fire the weapon on the Financial Trade Building, despite Melissa's rebuttals against such a plan.
Shortly after, Shadow, having passed out from drinking, is suddenly woken up by a blast above him, followed by distant screaming and sirens. Shadow, holding shards from each Chaos Emerald, runs outside to see a large explosion from the building. With the power of the shards, he goes into Super Shadow and saves as many civilians as he can. Infinite, desperate to kill him, fires again, almost missing Shadow, but severely damaging the core structure of the building. If the player mashes buttons fast enough, Shadow will escape the collapsing building.
One night later, Kenzie is comforting Shadow, reminding him that it wasn't his fault and that he was a hero. Just as she tells him that she won't believe a word Eggman says, the news is coincidentally interrupted by a special report. Shadow and Kenzie's feelings turn to horror, shock, and fear for each other's lives as the following announcement unfolds.
Eggman's Announcement (Special Report)
"Good evening, Maurice City. This is Sonic, live from the 'At the Speed of Sound' studio. I know most of you would rather be watching your normal programming, but, let's be honest, I think a mayoral announcement is more important than reality TV or 80's movies or...whatever you were watching. Anyways, with that said, here's Mayor Ivo Robotnik, live at a press conference in City Hall."
"I've come to make an announcement. As you all know, yesterday, our wonderful city and the safety of our citizens was attacked suddenly and violently, resulting in the loss of the Financial Trade Building, and more than 3,000 innocent civilians, including some of my assistants. While I have nothing against the city mourning the loss of these beautiful lives, the people RUNNING the city are taking action. And after some researching, investigating, and personal reflection, the citywide police department and I have concluded that Shadow the Hedgehog is not only a criminal, but the very terrorist who carried out this attack! In response, I have sent the government after him. I WILL have him arrested, and I WILL have him executed personally. Shadow, if you're watching this, don't think your girlfriend Kenzie is safe, either! Don't worry, I'll spare her life. If you turn yourself in, I won't even bother with her. Now if you'll excuse me, I have paperwork to do, and a criminal to catch! This concludes my conference!"
"I-I...I just...uh...well, this concludes our report. I'll continue on about this shortly after on a special edition of 'At the Speed of Sound.' Until then, this is Sonic, and I'll see you later."
Shadow and Kenzie immediately gather their things and leave, only to be confronted by a Special Forces officer. Just as Shadow is about to be shot, Kenzie saves him and offers to be taken away for interrogation. While she is taken into interrogation custody, she looks at Shadow hopefully. Shadow manages to escape while the officer is distracted, disappearing from the city altogether.
More details later!
-Multiple canon and fanon characters, stories, and memes are referenced in the game.
- Dr. Eggman's announcement framing Shadow for the terrorist attack directly references the Real-Time Fan Dub of Sonic Adventure 2, even going as far as literally opening with "I've come to make an announcement."
- Sonic's radio interview with Mario references games such as Mario and Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- When Shadow meets Rampage for the first time, a poster for the Virtual Riot album German Engineering EP can be seen on the wall, referencing the fact that Brunn is also a music producer.