The Phantom Ruby prototypes are objects that appear in Sonic Forces. They are artificial duplicates of the Phantom Ruby created by Dr. Eggman that possess similar powers as the original, but with more restrictions to their usage.
Most Phantom Ruby prototypes look exactly like the original Phantom Ruby, being magenta icosahedron-shaped rubies with black ripple patterns. The final prototype (the one wielded by Infinite) however, is shaped more like a slightly twisted tetrahedron.
Powers and abilities
The Phantom Ruby prototypes possess similar traits and degree of power over reality manipulation and sensory deception as the original Phantom Ruby. However, most of them possess a defect that makes each prototype unusable to anyone else except the one that first triggered it. Secondly, they can only be activated by those that possess a strong will or a strong character.
When Phantom Ruby prototypes are pitted against one another, their virtual reality manipulations will cancel each other out. If pushed too far however, the Phantom Ruby prototype will be destroyed.
The finalized Phantom Ruby prototype is implied to not possess the defect that prevents others than the one that triggered it from using it.
The Phantom Ruby prototypes were created by Dr. Eggman in his secret lab in Mystic Jungle, where the doctor conducted analyses of the original Phantom Ruby. However, most of them had one or several fatal flaws that proved too risky to use effectively. After experimenting with lots of prototypes however, Eggman finalized one of them. This one was given to Eggman's army commander, the Jackal Squad's captain, who, after a humiliating loss to Shadow the Hedgehog, sought greater strength after casting his old identity aside. Thanks to his strong will, the captain was able to activate the prototype and harness its power. The captain was subsequently assimilated with the finalized prototype after a number of experiments, becoming Infinite. Under the direction of Eggman, Infinite sought to destroy the world with the Phantom Ruby prototype and make way for the Eggman Empire's uprising.
In Sonic Forces, Dr. Eggman and Infinite put their plans into action by attacking the world using replicas of Shadow, Metal Sonic, Zavok and Chaos created by Infinite's Phantom Ruby, and defeating Sonic the Hedgehog. With the subsequent aid of Infinite and his prototype Ruby, the Eggman Empire's conquered over 99% of the planet.
Six months after the War to Take Back the Planet began, Eggman and Infinite went about destroying the remaining Phantom Ruby prototypes so they could not fall into the wrong hands and potentially throw a wrench in their plans. While retrieving the prototypes from Eggman's closed lab in Mystic Jungle however, Infinite ended up battling Silver the Hedgehog, who made him drop a prototype without knowing it. When Sonic then appeared and took over for Silver, Infinite powered up his Phantom Ruby prototype twice, which allowed him to beat Sonic. The prototype Infinite dropped was later discovered by the Avatar, who proved able to activate it with their innate heroism and courage.
When the Resistance launched Operation Big Wave on Metropolis, Infinite used his Phantom Ruby prototype to bring forth gravity distortions and monsters in Infinite's likeness that forced the Resistance to retreat. Not long after, Infinite found himself engaging the Avatar in combat. During the battle, the Avatar unintentionally used their Phantom Ruby prototype to avoid a killing blow from Infinite brought forth by his finalized Phantom Ruby prototype, much to the latter’s surprise. Still, that did not stop Infinite from defeating the Avatar and leaving them to be killed by Eggman's endgame.
Discovering that the Phantom Rubies relied on the Death Egg to provide them with power to work, the Resistance destroyed the space station, weakening the Rubies. However, Eggman had anticipated this, and had a backup power reactor built underneath the Eggman Empire Fortress. This allowed Infinite's Phantom Ruby prototype to regain enough power to let Infinite banish Sonic and the Avatar to Null Space (for a time), a dimension created by the Phantom Ruby.
At the climax of the war, Infinite used his Phantom Ruby to create a virtual sun above the planet to burn the Resistance and the world with. However, Tails soon discovered the Phantom Ruby prototype the Avatar possessed. Following Tails' instructions, the Avatar made the virtual sun Infinite created disappear with their prototype, which got destroyed in the process. Infinite soon after took on Sonic while his weakened Phantom Ruby prototype recharged. Once it was fully charged however, the Avatar came to Sonic's aid, and together they defeated Infinite. Infinite's Phantom Ruby prototype was then pulled into its reactor, causing Infinite to disappear. However, Sonic and the Avatar would follow the prototype into the reactor, which housed several other Phantom Ruby prototypes. These rubies were all subsequently destroyed when Sonic and the Avatar blew up the reactor.
Other game appearances
Sonic Forces: Speed Battle
In Sonic Forces: Speed Battle, at the end of each course, the player can see "Phantom Ruby Prototypes"; while bearing a resemblance to the finalized version on Infinite's chest, these prototypes are shaped like a triangular bipyramid instead of a tetrahedron.
- Despite the Phantom Ruby prototype's powers being described as virtual reality, the correct term for their primary usage would actual 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.
Sonic Forces digital comic
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. 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. / Infinite: Only a being with my strength of will could ever activate it. / Dr. Eggman: It doesn't matter now with the lab locked down in Mystic Jungle."
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Area/Level: Imperial Tower. "Tails: Whoa, it is. He said the Phantom Ruby prototypes only react to the person who activated it. That must be you, buddy. Your courage and heroism are probably what triggered it."
- Sonic Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces (Episode Shadow). Nintendo Switch. 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 (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces (Episode Shadow). Nintendo Switch. 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 (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. 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. "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 (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. 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 Team (November 7, 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Area/Level: World Map. "Shadow: Infinite can create virtual reality projections. They have mass and form, but no heart or soul. / Sonic: Virtual reality? So all those familiar faces that were a part of Eggman's army... / Shadow: Replicas. The problem is, they may not be real, but their powers are as formidable as the originals. According to Rouge, Infinite can create unlimited numbers of them."
- Sonic Forces Japanese website (Japanese). Characters. Archived from the original on 11 September 2017. Retrieved on 11 September 2017.