The Phantom Ruby (ファントムルビー Fantomu Rubī?) is an object that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is an interdimensional gemstone of incredible power that was fought over by several parties across multiple dimensions. It plays a central role in Sonic Mania and its follow-up game Sonic Forces.
The Phantom Ruby is a magenta icosahedron ruby with black ripple patterns along its surface. It is also small enough to fit in the palm of a hand.
Powers and abilities
While different from the Chaos Emeralds, the Phantom Ruby is still remarkably powerful and has been theorized to be a source of unspeakable power. When channeling its power, the Phantom King became powerful enough to bypass the invulnerability granted by a super transformation. Similarly, the ruby itself can also restrain the Chaos Emeralds and cancel out a super transformation. Its power is so great that it could affect the Master Emerald's ability to keep Angel Island afloat, causing the island to fall back into the ocean. The Phantom Ruby's abilities are said to outclass even those of the Master Emerald's. Because of its massive amount of power, it was implied that the Phantom Ruby's mere presence at the heart of the Eggman Empire was such that Eggman could afford to have a comparatively small amount of his own forces stationed at Metropolis, provided the gem was at full power. The Phantom Ruby was also capable of reviving at the very least robots, as evidenced by how it revived the fallen Hard Boiled Heavies. The Phantom Ruby was also apparently close to being indestructible, as it managed to withstand a direct blow to Infinite's sword, despite it being sharp enough to effortlessly cut down several Eggman robots.
The Phantom Ruby's exact powers are based on virtual reality manipulation. It takes control of people's visual and depth perception to feed false information to the brain creating a new reality for them, and creates virtual projections that have mass and form to interact with the world around them. This includes empowering and altering beings (like the Hard Boiled Heavies, Classic Metal Sonic, and Infinite) or creating illusory places and entities that make it impossible to differentiate between reality and fantasy. Its powers can also warp the fabric of space-time, allowing it to create pocket dimensions such as Egg Reverie Zone and Null Space, as well as teleport entities from place to place. When used alongside the Chaos Emeralds' time-space powers, it transported Classic Sonic and itself to another dimension, and later sucked Dr. Eggman into a rift (the latter also causing the Titanic Monarch to collapse).
When touched, the Phantom Ruby, as a default, seems to generate an illusion of whatever the person who touched it most desires, although these only last as long as it is being physically touched by the person. For example, when Infinite accidentally touched the gem, he was struck by images of a destroyed world of chaos, based on his own violent desire for change.
When used, the Phantom Ruby creates a by-product known as the Ruby Mist, a mist-like substance that distorts space-time within it.
The Phantom Ruby is also capable of assimilating Phantom Ruby prototypes, and anything directly connected to them; after being defeated, Infinite and his Phantom Ruby prototype were in pulled by the Phantom Ruby, consuming the prototype and Infinite along with it.
In Sonic Mania, the Phantom Ruby appeared on Angel Island after a dimensional breach occurred in the atmosphere, its effects causing Angel Island to fall into the sea again. Its unique energy signature was soon detected by Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails who went to investigate it. Also detecting the gemstone was Dr. Eggman, who sent his team of elite Egg-Robos, the Hard Boiled Heavies, to retrieve it after theorizing its potential.
When Sonic and Tails arrived on Angel Island, the Hard Boiled Heavies were excavating the Phantom Ruby from the ground. As they did so, the gem warped space-time around them and catapulted Sonic, Tails, the Hard Boiled Heavies, and Knuckles the Echidna (who was relaxing nearby) to Green Hill Zone. In the process, the Phantom Ruby transformed the Hard Boiled Heavies into more powerful Egg-Robos with wills of their own.
The Hard Boiled Heavies promptly escaped with the gem which was soon taken by Dr. Eggman, whose usage of the gem sent Sonic and co. away when they caught up to him. When the trio later cornered Eggman in Press Garden Zone, the doctor used the ruby to send them to Little Planet. At Stardust Speedway Zone, Dr. Eggman gave the ruby to Metal Sonic who used its power to transform into a giant blue version of himself in a bid to destroy Sonic and co. When the heroes defeated Metal Sonic however, the Phantom Ruby was returned to Dr. Eggman by a Dango before the heroes could claim it.
Eggman ultimately made the Phantom Ruby the power source of his Titanic Monarch, its power distorting space within Eggman's creation. When Sonic and co. faced Eggman, the doctor used the gem to power a battlesuit. Upon Eggman's defeat, the Phantom Ruby pulled the doctor and Sonic into a strange space where Eggman and the traitorous Phantom King fought over the gemstone, only for Super Sonic to defeat them both. In the aftermath, the Phantom Ruby reacted to Sonic's seven Chaos Emeralds, causing Sonic and the ruby to be pulled through a spatial warp to another dimension.
Several months prior to Sonic Forces, the Phantom Ruby (though it had no name at the time) was found by Dr. Eggman after the sensors of his Arsenal Pyramid detected an unusual energy signature outside, prompting Eggman to investigate. Upon touching the Ruby, Eggman had a brief vision of Eggmanland. Intrigued, Eggman researched the jewel, eventually coining the name "Phantom Ruby". However, his base was soon attacked by the Jackal Squad, led by the ultimate mercenary. During the attack, Eggman inadvertently used the Ruby to materialize a troop of Egg Pawns to exterminate the squad. The ultimate mercenary then tried to kill Eggman, but struck the Ruby instead, causing him and Eggman to see a ruined world based on the former's own violent desire for change. Impressed with the mercenary, Eggman got him to join his empire so they could achieve their mutual goals.
Seeking to test the Phantom Ruby, Eggman went to Angel Island where he used it to create an illusion of the Pachacamac's village and have Knuckles and Silver fight a replica Chaos. Although Knuckles and Silver overcame the replica, Eggman deemed the test to be a success. Eggman would afterward analyze the Phantom Ruby in his lab in Mystic Jungle in hopes of using it to take over the world. Using the data he gathered, Eggman created several defective "Phantom Ruby prototypes" which he used to experiment on until he created a finalized version. That final Phantom Ruby was given to the ultimate mercenary, who, after a humiliating loss to Shadow, cast away his previous identity and assimilated with the Ruby after a number of experiments, becoming Infinite. Under the direction of Eggman, Infinite sought to destroy the world with his Phantom Ruby and allow the Eggman Empire to rise to power.
While the original Phantom Ruby remained in Eggman's possession, he and Infinite put their plans into action by using the finalized Phantom Ruby to take over more than 99% of the planet, sparking the War to Take Back the Planet. Six months later however, the Resistance discovered that the Phantom Rubies relied on the Death Egg to provide them with the power they needed to work. As such, the Resistance destroyed the Death Egg, weakening the Rubies. However, Eggman had anticipated this, and had a backup power reactor built underneath the Eggman Empire Fortress.
At the climax of the war, the Resistance destroyed the backup reactor. Having anticipated this however, Eggman incorporated the original Phantom Ruby into his Death Egg Robot and its energy supply (making it an "invulnerable ruby") in an effort to crush the Resistance. By recklessly overclocking the Phantom Ruby, Eggman granted his Death Egg Robot powers beyond Infinite's, allowing it to create thousands of replicas to combat the Resistance with. During the Death Egg Robot's battle with Sonic, Classic Sonic and the Avatar however, the Phantom Ruby was seemingly destroyed by the trio, which undid all it had wrought.
Sonic Mania Plus
In Sonic Mania Plus, although the Resistance had defeated Dr. Eggman, it turned out that the Phantom Ruby had survived the Death Egg Robot's destruction and had returned to the dimension it came from. Upon returning to Angel Island, the ruby floated away somewhere, with Sonic chasing after it. This led him to a capsule with old acquaintances, Mighty and Ray, trapped inside. After Sonic set both allies free, one of them was revealed to be the Heavy Magician in disguise, who swiped the Phantom Ruby and passed it to the broken-down Hard Boiled Heavies, reviving them and sending the heroes back to Green Hill Zone. Thus, the heroes set off to chase the Phantom Ruby on another adventure similar to the first one.
After the Phantom Egg was defeated once again, the heroes got distracted by the Phantom Ruby as it floated there while Eggman snuck away. The Ruby then went out of control and created a space-time rift that began to suck in everything around it, including the Titanic Monarch. Eggman tried to make an escape, but the heroes escaped in their Super States and knocked him into the rift. It is unknown what has happened to the Phantom Ruby afterwards.
- After the release of Sonic Mania but prior to the release of Sonic Forces, it was heavily speculated whether the Phantom Ruby and Infinite were connected. The sound effects made by the Phantom Ruby in Sonic Mania were labelled as "RedCube_R" and "RedCube_L" in the game's data; sounding identical to the noises made by Infinite's cube attack in the Sonic Forces E3 trailer. Other similarities such as the poses made by Classic Sonic at the end of Sonic Mania matching the pose he made in the Sonic Forces reveal trailer furthered speculation until the connection was confirmed by Takashi Iizuka during the Tokyo Game Show 2017.
- Despite the Phantom Ruby's powers being described as virtual reality, the correct term for its primary usage would actually be augmented reality, which is when another reality is laid on top of another, whereas virtual reality is when an entirely new one is made.
- Despite the user making perfectly rounded (or sharp) mass forms, in Sonic Forces, the Phantom Ruby can only create cubes as a main geometry, but they merge together to create well balanced forms.
- In the early script of Sonic Forces, the Phantom Ruby was called "Valtron" and described as a blue sparkling pebble.
- Sonic Mania English instruction manual, "Prologue".
- Sonic Mania Japanese instruction manual.
- Sega. "Story So Far". Sonic Mania Introduction Manual. Sega. p. 1. "Some time after saving Angel Island, Sonic the Hedgehog and his best friend, Miles "Tails" Prower, are relaxing when Tails picks up a strange energy reading far away. Though different from the Chaos Emeralds, the reading is remarkably powerful, and Tails convinces Sonic to join him to check it out. Sonic and Tails take off on the Tornado towards the source, but sure enough, the evil Dr. Eggman has detected it too! Now it's a race between Sonic and Eggman to get there first and figure out what mysteries it holds. However, Eggman has been busy: he's just unleashed a new team of elite Egg-Robos to handle his most important tasks. They're called the "Hard-Boiled Heavies," and they're about to reach the source of the signal first! It's up to Sonic, Tails, & their newest ally, Knuckles the Echidna, to defeat the Hard-Boiled Heavies, unlock the secrets of the energy source, and stop Dr. Eggman!"
- Live Sonic Mania Developer Playthrough (6:30:00). Stealth (20 August 2017). Retrieved on 22 August 2017.
- Sonic Forces: Stress Test, "Stress Test"
- Sonic Forces: Rise of Infinite, "Rise of Infinite"
- Flynn, Ian; Sega (8 December 2021). Sonic the Hedgehog Encyclo-speed-ia. Dark Horse Books. ISBN 978-1506719276. "Once the leader of a mercenary team called "Jackal Squad," Infinite made the mistake of trying to raid one of Dr. Eggman's bases. The doctor took a shine to Infinite's bleak worldview and employed him and his squad. Their security detail was brief, as Shadow destroyed the team and left Infinite scarred. Eager for revenge, Infinite had himself outfitted with a helmet and a Phantom Ruby prototype, giving him the ability to create hyperrealistic virtual reality constructs. After his final defeat, he and his prototype are consumed by the original Phantom Ruby."
- Sonic Mania English instruction manual.
- Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces (Episode Shadow). Nintendo Switch. Sega. Area/Level: Eggman's Facility. "Dr. Eggman: Unbelievable! He's getting deeper and deeper into the facility! That computer running analysis in the core is invaluable!"
- Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces (Episode Shadow). Nintendo Switch. Sega. Area/Level: Eggman's Facility. "Dr. Eggman: Ugh. At least the analysis of the stone was completed yesterday, but... No, I still can't let this facility be destroyed! Is there ANYONE left out there!?"
- Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Sega. Area/Level: Green Hill. "Infinite: And with that, the disposal of the Phantom Ruby prototypes is complete. / Dr. Eggman: It was a defective model. It could only record the DNA of the one that triggered it."
- Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Sega. Area/Level: World Map. "Tails: Eggman experimented with lots of prototypes, and then incorporated the final version into Infinite."
- Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces (Episode Shadow). Nintendo Switch. Sega. "Infinite: That day, I gave up my own unsightly face. And I let go of the old me, the one that was so weak, so that I could become stronger. And then, at last... I obtained the power. The power to make all yield to my will. I... was... REBORN!"
- Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Sega. Area/Level: Green Hill. "Dr. Eggman: Of course! When it's complete, the resistance will be erased. The world will be nothing but ashes, from which a glorious Eggman Empire will rise! / Infinite: And the resistance will yield to the Phantom Ruby's power. All will submit."
- Sonic Forces - TGS 2017 Otakumode Interview (52:37). YouTube (23 September 2017). Retrieved on 24 December 2017. "Takashi Iizuka (as translated by board's translator): So...last month, uh, in August was the release of a game called "Sonic Mania", and uh, it got a really warm, uhm... welcome from everyone in the community, from all the fans, specially abroad a lot of people are enjoying playing it. And, uhm... I really hope that if you play "Sonic Mania", you get to play "Sonic Forces" too... you may think those titles are unrelated, but actually, they may not be, and there might be a... (laughs). Definitely, I want you to check both titles because there is something going on between the two."
- Unofficial English translation of early script (15 January 2016). Retrieved on 19 June 2018.