Sonic the Hedgehog is dead. That's the premise of The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog, a free visual novel officially released by Sega today.
The new game was announced and released today, and you can go download and play it for yourself over on Steam. As you'd expect, this is an April Fool's Day gag, but like all good April Fool's goofs, the result is something substantial you can actually enjoy. Surprisingly substantial, even - you've gotta play through like 20 minutes before Sonic even dies.
The setup has you assisting with a murder mystery party aboard a luxury train, so there's a decent chance that Sonic isn't actually dead here. But hey, the story does include some proper mysterious happenings alongside the party, so maybe some real murder is happening along with the game. It's the perfect setup to a mystery story, in any case.
Honestly, I'm struck by how, uh, well-executed The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is. This is a complete game with custom art, loads of dialog, a fun premise, and more fully-featured mechanics than just clicking through endless text screens - there's even a 2.5D scrolling minigame that channels the series' old secret stages. Lead dev Michal Shafrir says the team spent the past year producing and developing this thing, and it shows.
"You know what they say: everything is canon," the devs note in the Steam page. Though they do add a parenthetical: "This is not a Sonic Team title, but we strongly believe in the power of headcanon!"
We might have a new candidate for one of the best Sonic games of all time. Either way, it'll be a good stopgap for fans awaiting that Sonic Frontiers follow-up.